Malibu Seen: Spidey, Spidey, on the Wall

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Disney’s long delayed “Black Widow” hits cinemas in July.

We can finally dine indoors. We can talk to the elephants and visit museums and zoos—things are getting somewhat back to normal. But perhaps the biggest plus of all: We can dive into our popcorn boxes and watch full screen movies—movies the way they were meant to be seen (unless you have a home movie theater, and even if you do…). That’s why it’s good news that the smell of sweet buttered popcorn and its crunch are back along with the enormity of the wide screen. It’s a return to when Saturday night meant a night at the movies.

Now, at long last, the Walt Disney Company is set to release Marvel’s long delayed “Black Widow” on July 9—pushed back twice amid COVID-19 surges. Disney’s “Cruella” will be released to theaters on May 28. Both will also be available to stream online through Disney+, although “Black Widow” will cost an additional fee and “Cruella” will be viewed through Disney+ Premier Access, which charges subscribers $30. Meanwhile, Pixar’s “Luca,” out June 18, will be available to regular Disney+ subscribers. 

Marvel fans will be put to the test of whether they’d rather spend a night on the town watching the spider woman in action in the theater or watching her on the small screen in your jammies and sweatpants.

With a budget of $200 million, “Black Widow” certainly goes into the category of big budget—worthy of the big screen. 

Disney’s strategy during the pandemic has included combinations of basic streaming, premier streaming and theatrical releases. The entertainment giant sent “Hamilton” and “Soul” straight to Disney+ while “Mulan” and “Raya and the Last Dragon” went to Disney+ through its $30 Premier Access titles.

For other big titles, Disney has pushed back opening dates until a movie is more likely to succeed in theaters. 

Last week, the company delayed Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” from July 9 to Sept. 9. 

Shifts in strategy for “Black Widow,” “Cruella” and “Luca” “reflect the inclination to let the consumer be our guide in almost all situations,” Chief Executive Bob Chapek was recently quoted as saying in the LA Times.

The release date for “Black Widow,” the Scarlett Johansson superhero spy thriller, was delayed by more than a year as indoor movie theaters were pushed to outdoor drive-ins. 

So, at last the choice is yours: TV or theatrical wide screen? Normal is inching closer every day.